Are Health Care Professionals Penalized After Making A Medical Mistake?
It has come to the attention of many individuals that doctors and other health care workers aren’t being held accountable when they make a mistake during a given procedure they are performing. Whether it be surgery, or a less invasive procedure being performed, doctors often make mistakes that go unnoticed, or are simply left unaddressed. And what does that result in? Injured patients left to suffer and physicians still employed and practicing in the medical field.
Take Dr. Pachavit Kasemsap who was accused of “slicing an aorta while trying to remove a gallbladder” or “connecting a woman’s rectum to her vagina” [Source: Sun-Sentinel]. He was faced with almost $3 million in payouts from five medical malpractice lawsuits that were filed against him. Unfortunately for the victims, state officials never took any sort of action against the physician. And this happens more frequently than you might think. According to a South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation, it was revealed that many of the reviews that are conducted involving medical negligence “rarely lead to discipline.”
What’s even more shocking is that Florida’s Department of Health “reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal lawsuits against doctors over the past decade but has filed disciplinary charges just 128 times- about one-half of one percent of the cases.” What this means is that even when doctors are forced to pay out large sums of money for the errors they make in privately filed lawsuits, they still aren’t faced with consequences from their state’s department of health.
While the University of Washington School of Medicine has acknowledged that “errors are inevitable in the practice of medicine,” if a physician makes a mistake because they were negligent in some way, they should be recognized for this. The fact is, not every treatment rendered to patients is going to work and some do lead to more severe illnesses. But, when a doctor is trained to perform a certain procedure in a specific manner and fails to do so, it is only fair for that to be acknowledged. The more doctors are let go from facing any sort of consequence for their careless behavior only places the lives of individuals seeking treatment more at risk.
Some Medical Mistakes Have Even Lead to Death
While some doctors have been called out for injuring their patient as they accidentally did something they shouldn’t have when treating them, there are cases where a physician’s carelessness has led to death. What is death from medical care defined as exactly? In an article published in BMJ, death from medical care could defined as one of the following:
- “An unintended act or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.”
- An action that was completed, but failed to meet the actual intentions of it.
- A wrong plan put into action to treat or care for a patient’s concerns.
- “A deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.”
A patient can not only become harmed by a health care professional but also a system/machine that is used to treat them. And while some patients wind up receiving the wrong type of medication or have the wrong procedure performed, others wind up dying because a doctor or nurse failed to supply them with the type of care they required.
What if I’m a victim of medical malpractice?
Victims of medical malpractice are often left confused or unsure as to what they can do regarding the matter. Can they sue? File a claim against the facility where the doctor works? Or should they leave it alone and hope that their condition or injury heals itself? The truth is, there are various steps that can be taken and you can read about them in the article “When and How to Sue a Hospital for Medical Negligence Cases?”.
We have learned from studies and other data that although doctors are rarely recognized for their inconsistency in applying medical practices, there are still ways to hold them accountable and that is through the filing of a lawsuit. While an individual or their representing family members have the option of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit on their own, they could run into obstacles they aren’t equipped to handle. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why many elect to hire a medical malpractice lawyer in the city in which in the incident occurred in.
Even though health care workers might still be practicing in the field of medicine even if they made a mistake, victims shouldn’t be discouraged from taking legal action if they believe a doctor’s negligent behavior led to their injury.